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Videogame: Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten

Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten is the fourth game in the Turn-Based Strategy series Disgaea by Nippon Ichi. The game revolves around Valvatorez—a vampire who forbade himself from drinking human blood after he made a promise 400 years ago—and his campaign of reformation against the corrupt government of the Netherworld. With him is Fenrich, his loyal demon wolf servant, and Fuka Kazamatsuri, a deceased middle-school student who was sent to the Netherworld and should have been turned into a Prinny, but because of budget cutbacks just had a Prinny hat slapped on her instead.

Other characters include Vulcanus, the Angel of Avarice; Emizel, the son of the Netherworld President; and Desco, a monster girl whose ambition is to become the Final Boss. Axel returns as the warden of Hades and Valvatorez' boss.

Features include true high-resolution sprites (with the option of switching to the traditional low-res sprites), new Magichange commands and the ability to use a pirate ship to invade and plunder other players' games.

An Updated Re-release for the Vita with the title Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited (Makai Senki Disgaea 4 Return in Japan) has been announced. In addition to including all of the Downloadable Content from the original game, it will also contain a new bonus story.

This game provides examples of:

  • A Day in the Limelight: One of the two DLC scenarios focuses on Fuka and Desco.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: A group of 20 billion planets all consider humans to be such pests they want to kill us all. The fact this will destroy the netherworld and Celestia doesn't bother them, they actually seem to consider them being wiped out killing two birds with one stone.
  • Angrish: Fenrich breaks into it when Fuka suggests that he might not hate her with the passion of a thousand fiery suns.
    Fenrich: Argh! Must you keep-!?... Ugh, what an ill-natured damsel.
  • Another Side, Another Story: The other DLC scenario focuses on how Fenrich met Valvatorez back when he was still a Tyrant.
    • The Vita remake has a third story showing how Valvatorez met Artina. It also includes Fuka and Desco Time Travelling, and introduces a new character named Nagi Clockwork.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature: In the previous installments, if you tried to capture an enemy you weren't able to create yet, your entire Base Panel along with anyone inside, would be killed for the duration of the battle. (Or in the case of Item World, till you returned to the hub or miraculously found a Mystery Room Hospital) In D4's Item World, if you tried the same thing and proceeded to the next stage anyway, everyone in your Base Panel is miraculously revived as if you never made the attempt at all.
    • The Vita Remake includes many of the new features introduced in Disgaea Dimension 2, such as the Cheat Shop and Innocent Warehouse. Also, you no longer need to go into your HQ area to use the Senate.
    • This also applies to the Vita Remake's demo, in that it includes a Free Battle mode which unlocks over two-thirds of the entire game's cast, including several post-game content characters, and the ability to use most of the added features without needing to buy the game.
  • Apocalypse Maiden: Subverted with Artina. She wasn't destined to be the cause of the world being screwed up, but pretty much became the cause of it anyway as the result of her death.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The heroes are shocked to discover a newspaper falsely reporting Emizel's death, glossing over their rebellion, and misspelling the word "Prinny". Well, at least Val thinks the misspelling is a serious offense.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Essentially how the president remains in office. He stays president until he is defeated, at which point the position is open to the victor or whoever the victor chooses. It eventually goes to Axel, since Valvatorez didn't care and was more concerned about Nemo. And then Torn Desco came in...
  • Bait and Switch: The introduction to the game has Valvatorez describing fresh, dripping juices... only he's talking about sardines. Similarly, the animated OP for the game shows Val lunging at a woman, only for the image to change to him happily munching on sardines.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Lampshaded. When Valvatorez and his crew arrives on the moon, Fuka notices she can breathe normally. Fenrich remarks that demons don't need oxygen and the reason on why she can do it is because she is dead. Which raises a relevant point when you meet Judge Nemo there.
  • The Battle Didn't Count: Invoked by the chief of the Information Bureau, who argues that the Information Bureau's refusal to acknowledge her defeat as a fact means that it actually didn't happen. Valvatorez decides that she's right - so he'll just have to kick her ass over and over again. After quick reconsideration, the chief decides that The Battle Actually Did Count.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Nemo towards Artina.
  • Big Damn Heroes: What good is praying when all hope is lost? Flonne: It's...LOVE! Praying will become the Power Of Love!
  • Bi the Way: A Succubus made with the "Bewitching" Personality voice set will proclaim this in one of her Cam-Pain-HQ lines.
  • Bloody Murder: "Delusion", one of the succubus' magichange attacks, has her strip in front of the party member that was wielding her, resulting in a massive Nosebleed that damages, if not outright kills enemies in front of said party member.
  • Body Horror: The characters treat the A-Virus as this in Chapter VI as they gradually turn into Axel. Played for Laughs.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The God Ending ends with the party facing off against eight million minor gods sent by the big guy himself. So far, they've killed eight hundred thousand of them.note 
  • Bonus Boss: In the postgame, you can fight and recruit Axel, Flonne, Raspberyl, Etna, Laharl, Asagi and Zetta. Prinny Kurtis can be fought and recruited as well, if you encounter him enough times in the Item World then pass a bill in the Senate. Pringer X and its other versions also serve as bonus bosses, except they can't be recruited. Finally, there's a bunch of DLC characters you can fight and recruit.
  • The Bro Code: Mentioned by Fuka when she briefly considers pursuing Valvatorez.
    Fuka: Aww, but Artina and Fenfen might get up in my face. Plus, stealing you from them would be breaking the friendship rule.
  • Bullet Time: Used hilariously in HD Asagi's Dead Battle skill, which places her in a shootout with the targeted enemies.
  • Butt Monkey: Axel! You thought he had it bad in the second game, you ain't seen nothing yet...
    • Artina says 'he's was born under a hopeless star'.
  • By the Eyes of the Blind: Humans who lack faith cannot see nor hear angels.
  • Cain and Abel: Des X, the successor to Desco created by Fuka's father, killed Fuka out of jealousy.
  • Cap:
    • The level cap remains at 9999, the stored level cap at 270,000, and the cap for items and aptitudes is 300.
    • For the six stats other than HP and SP, it's 99,999,999.
    • The damage cap was discovered to be in the range of about 184 quadrillion.
  • Call Back: Both Fallen Angel and Archangel Flonne have an attack that summons a dragon.note  While she never had this as an attack in the previous games, she once summoned a dragon to aid her in her boss battle in Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. She even uses the same incantation — Durian Dragon Dranyago.
    • In the Fuka & Desco show, if you talk to Laharl in the Cam-Pain HQ, he will sometimes bring up Prinny reincarnation only to immediately wave it off. Anyone who played the first game will know why.
  • Call Forward: In Tyrant Valvatorez Mode, Fenrich makes a comment that Valvatorez would probably put his all into any job, even the lowly job of a Prinny Instructor.
  • Can't Argue with Elves: As Valvatorez explains it, demons are basically terrorists with cosmic power. Terrorizing humans is absolutely vital to the cosmos. So just shut up and deal with it, apparently.
  • The Cameo: Before being released as DLC, Pink from Dark Hero Days Axel Mode makes a few brief silent appearances throughout the game and appears as an enemy in some battles with Axel. During Axel's Love Dynamite S, during the normal ending credits, and during the Axel ending credits though infected by the A Virus. If Axel is in a cutscene, Pink will be hiding somewhere. She also makes occasional random appearances in Item World Innocent Towns.
  • Cool Ship: You can create your own by collecting ship parts throughout the game. Some also count as Humongous Mecha.
  • Colony Drop/Detonation Moon:
    • Nemo attempts both.
    • Overlord Zetta does the latter in his Zetta Beam Neo attack.
    • The Tera Star spell drops the solar system on the targets.
    • Getting The Fish Strong! ship leads the Prinnies to tearing up the moon, much to Fenrich's annoyance.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Fuka tries to rob the Netherworld mint with Desco and an unwilling Artina in the Fuka & Desco Show, the three of them are stopped by Flonne, who insists they're about to commit a terrible crime: how can they even think of robbing the Netherworld mint without first coming up with an awesome Phantom Thief team name!?
  • Comic Trio: Fuka (the leader), Desco (the fool) and Vulcanus/Artina (the Only Sane Man) have this arrangement in the Fuka & Desco Show.
  • Convection Schmonvection: The area that serves as your home base in Hades is completely surrounded by flowing lava. It could be argued that demons would not be affected by this in the same way humans are, but then again, fire spells do plenty of damage to them...
  • Crapsack World: Things have really gone downhill in the Disgaea universe since the last game. Hades is overflowing with sinful human souls, the Netherworld hierarchy is incompetent, bloated and ineffectual, Celestia is near-bankrupt because human Faith is in decline, the Netherworld itself is on the verge of collapse from a critical lack of Fear Energy from the Human World, the Human World has been consumed by pollution and vice, and in the end God Himself gets tired of all this shit and decides to forsake creation itself.
  • Dare to Be Badass: Valvatorez gives one such speech to Emizel after he's disowned by President Hugo.
    Valvatorez: Haven't you realized that your existence can easily be erased without your identity? Why don't you leave your father's protection, stand up for your own free will, and take a step forward with your own two feet? It's the only way you'll ever be able to prove you exist.
  • Darker and Edgier: Oddly enough this game manages to be Darker and Edgier in the narrative without actually dampening the tone much. See Crapsack World above. There's just a LOT more at stake in this game compared to previous Disgaea games, whose plots were more personal in nature. But at the same time, the same quirky characters and bizarre humor is ever-present, perhaps to an even greater degree than before to off-set this.
  • Dead All Along: Judge Nemo's been dead since the beginning of the game. That's the reason on why he can travel freely between the Netherworld and the Human World.
    • Also Fuka, though she's the only one who hasn't realized it.
  • Declaration of Protection: Along with his oath to not drink blood until he shows Artina true fear, Valvatorez also promised he'd protect her for as long as that took. Unfortunately, he didn't take promises then as seriously as he does now, and Artina was killed three days later. It was the last promise he's ever broken.
  • Demoted to Extra: Surprisingly, recurring Bonus Boss Baal. Unless you played Disgaea 2 Dark Hero Days, then you know that Pringer X IS Baal. He does show up as a DLC battle, though.
  • Description Cut: When the team learns Vulcanus is still on collection duty in the Netherbattle Tournament, the angel has to reassure them that the money isn't going to be wasted this time around. After all, what's Flonne going to do? Spend it on another giant robot? Cut to Flonne planning on exactly that.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Valvatorez effectively gives God himself the middle finger at the end of the game. In the God Ending, however, he manages to piss off God a little too well, and God declares total war against him, which he starts by annihilating both Earth and the Netherworld.
    • The Vita port adds a new scene in which Val is transported to another dimension to speak with God, who wanted to see the one who defeated Fear the Great and warns him not to defy him. Val, however, tells him to stop acting high and mighty and meddle with everyone again, otherwise, he will come back and give God a beating. So, Val essentially and directly gives God the middle finger!
    • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Val gives one to God that sends him back to the Hades Party, promising to give him more should God ever mess with the world again.
    Valvatorez: Grit those teeth, God!!!! And learn what itís like to feel pain!!!!
  • Disc One Final Dungeon: Taken Up to Eleven with four so-called final chapters in a row.
  • Disc One Nuke: Emizel, see Gamebreaker on the YMMV page for details.
    • In the Vita remake, there's nothing stopping you from going to the Cheat Shop, cranking up the enemy levels, and then fighting the four prinnies in the very first stage where there's a 50% Experience boost. Prinnies are easy to beat even if they are at higher levels than you, but they still give out plenty of experience. You can easily reach level 50 as soon as the Cheat Shop becomes available, if you have the patience. This method doesn't work after a while, though, as you can only raise enemy levels so high and better grinding methods become available later on.
  • Difficulty Spike
    • Episode 7. Always outnumbered, flooded with Reapers that hit hard and eat your SP, and crippling geo symbols everywhere.
    • Then you go to the X Dimension of Episode 7. Ouch. To make matters worse, you need to capture one of Reapers to obtain a part needed for the Land of Carnage.
      • One could make the argument that Episode 8 is even worse. Same problems as Ep. 7, outnumbered, crippling geo symbols, but also Geo Puzzles and enemies with long ranges. And at the end, you have to fight the boss once, and then a giant version of her a second time without the opportunity to heal up in between.
  • Divine Intervention: God gets fed up with Earth enough to decide that Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies and activate Fear the Great. In the God Ending, once Valvatorez manages to stop that, God sends an aspect of himself to deal with the party personally.
    Aspect of God: God has concluded that you cannot be stopped merely with Fear the Great alone. Thus, he has dispatched me to confront you.
  • DLC:
    • Downloadable Characters: For the North American release, Fallen Angel Flonne can be obtained by preordering from either NISA store or Gamestop. Aside from her, you have Adell, Rozalin, HD Asagi (Free in the U.S. and Europe), Overlord Priere, Mao, Kyoko, Asuka, Pink, Main Hero B, Pleinair, Prism Red, Gig, Pram, Petta, Nisa, Marona, Ash, Hugo, Des X, Nemo, King Krichevskoy,note  and Pirohiko. Some of these characters also come with classes from the previous games like the Deathsabers, the Celestial Hosts, and the Kunoichi. Finally, two new classes — a Medic class (Designed by Noizi Ito) and a Necromancer class (Designed by Kohaku Kuroboshi) — have been added.
    • Downloadable Modes: There are two downloadable scenarios similar to the Disgaea 3's Raspberyl Mode. The first takes place before the main game and features Valvatorez during his days as a Tyrant — which includes an alternate version of Valvatorez (Tyrant Valvatorez, similar to Fallen Angel Flonne). The second focuses on Fuka, Desco, and Prinny reincarnation. In addition, there's added gameplay modes like Tournament Mode and Survival Mode.
    • Extra: With each character release, there will downloadable ship parts for your pirate ship and stage maps for both the map creator and the hub.
    • And finally a downloadable Bonus Boss battle against Baal (who else?)
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Using the map editor, you can assign any character in your party to act as any NPC in your base... And they all have different things to say depending on what they're assigned to.
    • When you switch over to the Fuka and Desco Show, characters in the Cam-Pain HQ have different things to say. It replaces the sardines line with candy, they acknowledge that it's the Fuka Party now, and the DLC characters have different things to say depending on the chapter.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: When Artina willingly offers Valvatorez her blood so he won't have to feed on other people, Valvatorez responds that he refuses to drink the blood of a woman who doesn't fear demons and swears to her that he'll show her true terror before he touches blood again.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Vulcanus/Artina offering to let Val finally drink her blood in the Vulcanus epilogue seems quite a bit like she's offering something else. The illustration that follows doesn't help.
    • During the post-game, after hearing Axel's poem, everyone cheered for him. Among those cheering was a Prinny who says he grew a third peg leg.
    • Almost all of Gig's dialogue with Priere in the Netherbattle tournament.
  • Downer Ending: If you finish the second-to-last level (Boiling Point) as Val solo with him at Lvl.500, the game ends with God, enraged by the party's actions, destroys both Earth and the Netherworld and subjects the party to a Fate Worse Than Death.
  • Dramatic Irony: It's hard not to laugh at Tyrant Valvatorez' disgust of sardines in the Time Loop episodes. If only he knew...
  • Dual Wielding: You can magichange two monsters onto a humanoid character, allowing the humanoid to attack twice. You can even dual wield giant magichange weapons!
  • Dumbass Has a Point: "I see a flicker of intelligence coming from Fuka's brain!"
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Although he has appeared previously in book form in other Disgaea titles, the appearance of humanoid Zetta is probably an Early Bird Cameo for the then upcoming PSP remake of Makai Kingdom. The new character from the remake, Petta, appears as Downloadable Content.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom:
    • The Dragon's second magichange skill, Final Dragoon, does this. Makes an even bigger explosion when used with a giant magichanged Dragon.
    • There's also the Galaxy Comet bow skill that wipes out most of the solar system, ending with the sun.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Desco, or at least the tentacled creature on her back. Her final attack (Which causes said creature to take on a gigantic, even more monstrous form) is even called Yog Sothoth.
  • Enter Eponymous: The third episode is entitled "Enter the Final Weapon".
  • Everybody Lives: After every boss battle in the game, and even most normal battles, the enemies you just fought seem to stick around for a while to argue with the heroes over one plot-advancing point or another before running off or poofing themselves away, regardless of how badly you destroyed them in the last battle. In fact, the only character who ends up even remotely dead is Judge Nemo, and even he is coming back as a Prinny. Or, after clearing the third chapter of the Fuka and Desco Show, you can get him back in human form, but with the power of Fear the Great but without the darker colors, and he acts like rude.
  • Everyone Is Bi: The game allows you to set up any two units as "lovers", sex or species be damned. And of course there's this line:
    And so, everyone admitted that they don't mind a little trap action, even among plant life. That's... good to know!
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Almost literally. Angels are invisible to humans who have no faith, which is why Nemo cannot see or hear either Vulcanus or Flonne.
  • Exact Words: In Artina's ending, she tells Valvatorez that he has fulfilled his promise to bring her to despair - by making her despair over his safety.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Valvatorez did not expect the Archangel Vulcanus spoke so highly of would be Flonne.
  • Failure-to-Save Murder: To Judge Nemo, Valvatorez is just as responsible for Artina's death as the people who killed her both because he failed to live up to his promise to protect her and because he didn't punish her killers.
  • Fartillery: The Dragon's Break Wind attack is a flaming variant, while the Orc uses the (somewhat) more standard variety with its Orc Hero Gas attack.
  • Feelies: The US Premium Edition comes with a artbook, a OST, and a Fuka figurine. The Super Premium comes with all that and an additional 9 figurines.
  • Female Angel, Male Demon: Both of the angels in the game are female, while all the demons of the team (unless you count the artificially created Eldritch Abomination, Desco) are male.
    • Main Hero B, who is packaged with the Celestial Host class DLC, is male, despite being a recolor of the female Generic class he comes with. (He also strangely as a female voice in the English audio)
  • Five-Man Band
  • Flanderisation: Axel suffers from this greatly. In Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories he was an idiotic dork but the game makes it clear that his raging ego and showmanship is part of his act as the "Dark Hero" and at heart he's a decent guy who cares about his family and doesn't like to commit real evil. In Disgaea 4, his egotism and idiocy are ramped up to dangerous levels, to the point where he threatens the entire Netherworld and doesn't realise it. To be fair, Axel does state that he was playing the part of the Warden the entire time (and there is evidence to prove that) and he acted like that to save Pink who needed help when they jumped Netherworlds together.
    • The treatment of Prinnies in general. In Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, although it is made clear that Prinnies are treated worse in the Netherworld than in Celestia, Etna's comical levels of abuse (low pay, physical abuse, using Prinnies as impromptu chairs) are still treated as a exceptionally bad example and Running Gag. In Disgaea 4, Etna's behaviour comes off as downright nice in comparison to the new norm, where the minimum wage is one sardine for a twenty-three hour work day.
  • Foregone Conclusion: In Vita port's Time Leap episodes, Fuka and Desco discuss this when they learn they've been transported to the war 400 years ago in which Tyrant Valvatorez and Sister Artina met, knowing that Artina will eventually die.
  • Foreshadowing: In one of the bad endings. Lose to Vulcanus, and at the very end, you can see Flonne and a not-so-shadowed Great Flongor X.
  • Forever War: Parodied in one of the bad endings: after everyone in the Netherworld is transformed into Axel by the A-Virus, all of the Axels wage war against each other over who is the best looking. Since Axel refuses to believe anyone's better than him, this means all the Axels keep fighting the Battle of Axfools indefinitely.
  • Fusion Dance: Monsters can fuse into one another in the middle of battle to create giant versions of themselves, or with human-type characters to become weapons. It's a option in the Senate for Monster Foreign senators, which raises their voice level. Oddly enough, they can do it with more than one monster.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: A usual for Disgaea, but the Adell cutscenes are a doozy. It doesn't matter if you have 10 billion HL or have everyone in the party stronger than Val, your funds are 'limited' and Val is the 'strongest.'
    • The fight with Zetta will end with him calling Valvatorez the strongest, only for Val to say that he needed the rest of the party to help, and therefore Zetta is still the strongest individual. He says this even if he is way tougher, and won the fight solo.
    • One of the most blatant examples is that Val refuses to drink blood in story but has absolutely no problem with using his in-game HP-draining abilities against human or monster enemies.
    • One of the Evil Symbols allows you to have your party members participate in assemblies. However, they can vote "Nay" just like other senators, and should your vote be denied, will fight against you if you decide to persuade them by force. This can lead to situations that could never happen in a million years in the story, like Fenrich fighting against Valvatorez.
  • Global Currency Exception : The Map Editor shop which require CP to purchase items rather than HL, which is used everywhere else.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Genjiro manages to supply Flonzor X with the awe energy it needs to stop the moon's Colony Drop by broadcasting Valvatorez's efforts to save the world on every TV screen on Earth, while Hugo similarly mobilizes the Information Bureau to gather it from demons.
  • Government Conspiracy: The Corrupternment. It turns out they didn't have many other options.
  • Gratuitous English: Axel/Akutare uses some particularly memorable lines of it.
  • Gratuitous French: Val sometimes uses French words because French is sometimes considered an elegant language. If Val uses it, he must be an elegant person.
  • Gratuitous Japanese:
    • The "incomprehensive Ninja"' personality types yells out in a foreign accent Japanese words like "sushi" and "harakiri" that are hilariously inappropriate for the situation. Bonus points for not knowing Japanese and speaking fluent Engrish when not blurting random Japanese words. The "incomprehensive Ninja" is probably someone who idolizes "Glorious Japan" so much, he/she has decided to insert a few Japanese buzzwords in a desperate attempt to sound cool.
    • Val (In the English dub) will often talk about Japanese for sardines during On the Next. Even Axel pipes in at one point.
    • The orange Prism Ranger is the incomprehensive ninja, Up to Eleven!
  • Hell Invades Heaven: While it doesn't happen on-screen, one Non Standard Game Over has Valvatorez and company fighting an extended war against pretty much everybody in existence (including God).
  • Heroic BSOD: Desco undergoes a very literal system freeze upon learning that Fuka wants to be reincarnated in the Fuka & Desco Show.
  • Heroic Will Power: Valvatorez went from Tyrant-level Supreme Overlord to level 1 through abstinence for 400 years. He wanted to keep a promise to someonenote  and he didn't want to die because that would technically break the promise.
  • Hide Your Gays/ Suspiciously Specific Denial: A Heavy Knight with the "Overwhelming" voice set has a Cam-Pain line that has him noting that he sees beauty in men's muscles, but is quick to cite rather nervously that it isn't a sexual thing.
  • High-Pressure Blood: Comically used as a weapon in the Succubus' first Magichange attack, Delusion.
    • Also a textbook example of Nosebleed.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Axel unleashed Desco to make her fight Valvatorez's party... then got fried by her lasers.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: The game has absolutely no qualms with pointing out that Fenrich's obsessive loyalty to Valvatorez is more than a little suggestive. Fuka considers it as canon as Val/Artina.
    • And it's taken even further in the DLC scenario "Tyrant Valvatorez Days". Upon seeing Tyrant Valvatorez in action, he starts to wonder wheter he is "the man who will makes his dreams come true".
    • Given the fact that (As mentioned) other charcters notice it (Including the canon love interest, Artina) and the fact that the game pokes fun it at it (Like Androids mentioning Val/Fen Slash fics upon creation) one has to wonder if it isn't just text at this point.
  • Humans Are Bastards:
    • All the problems in the Netherworld can be traced back to how humans inflict harm and suffering upon themselves for profit and power, and thus they stop fearing demons and start fearing themselves, thus redirecting the fear energy, a vital essence to the netherworld, to themselves.
    • Also, due to the same reason, humans lost most of their faith, which is vital to Celestia in the same way the fear energy is to the Netherworld.
    • Humans seem to held to a double standard compared to demons. Most of the things that are considered wrong for humans to do and are treated as dark events are treated as comedic when demons do them. While Valvatorez doesn't approve of it, demons appear to able to get away with anything.
    • The armies of Rekidona and Gustark in the Time Loop episodes really hammer in just how awful humans can be. They essentially enslave demons to fight their wars and destroy anyone who opposes them and they do all this for no other reason than to destroy the other side.
  • Humongous Mecha:
    • Flonne's Great Flonzor X. Some of the ships that become available through DLC such as Laharl's Laharl Kaiser V and Mao's Getter Mao also count.
    • Fuka's final skill, which summons Pringer X.
  • Hunter Of Their Own Kind: The Prinny Extermination Squad, which is made up of human souls who are supposed to become prinnies, but couldn't due to lack of materials.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: President Hugo is well aware of how far the Netherworld has fallen and that he made such horrible decisions. However, because of the lack of fear energy, it was either he let the Netherworld crumble or give in to Judge Nemo to preserve the Netherworld as much as possible. Either way would have doomed the Netherworld.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon:
    • The giant magichange weapons which you can also Dual Wield. Giant Magichange lasts two turns, and the Dual Wield Giant Magichange lasts only one.
    • Rank 40 Weapon. Getting to it is murder. Using it on enemies murder them.
  • Instrument of Murder:
    • One of the joke weapons is an electric guitar.
    • The Trumpet gun.
  • Informed Attribute: Axel apparently has chest and leg hair, according to Emizel as the A-Virus begins to take over. Take a very good look at this picture. Does it look like he has chest hair?
  • Karma Houdini: The Gustark soldier who kills Artina walks off with absolutely no repercussions mostly because Artina asks Tyrant Val not to seek vengeance.
  • Keep the Reward: In the Netherbattle Tournament DLC, Valvatorez bluntly refuses Krichevskoy's reward of his Netherworld, and even scolds Krichevskoy for trying to pass his responsibilities to it for someone else.
  • Kill the Cutie: Deconstructed to hell with Artina's death (pre-story line) as it is the root cause of everything that has gone wrong during the course of the game's story line. See No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: The Spell Keepers for the Omega spells include Anime Tenchou (Fire), Holo (Wind), Lotte (Ice), Bikkuriman (Star) and Index (Heal). An interview with NI President revealed that they're all good friends. [1]
  • Level Editor: Maps can be created, then uploaded for other players to play, rate, and comment on. By playing user-made maps, points can be earned that allow for the purchase of more map parts, textures, backgrounds, and geo effects.
    • In addition to this, the hub area is now highly customizable. Any cleared map can be used as a hub (Including your created maps), and any of your characters can run the various shops and services, or simply idle for the purpose of providing conversation. Unfortunately, Sony required this be dialed back in the US and Europe — maps can still be created, but only via pre-designed map blocks — raw customization is impossible, and all mooks in said maps will have random names. Presumably this is to prevent obscene maps, although that other game by Sony had a highly customizable map editor without this requirement... As an unfortunate side effect, this means that the wealth of Japanese maps will be unusable in the US and EU versions, and the US and EU versions may be incompatible with the Japanese version for the "Item World Invasion" multiplayer.
  • Level Grinding: As with all of the games in the series, it has this in spades. However, the new Magichange features ease the grind a great deal, by allowing you to level one human character and four monsters at once.
  • Mad Scientist:
    • The Professor character class. She's even got a personality type called "Mad Scientist". Let her work on your base as a nurse and she becomes a Mad Doctor, gleefully treating her patients as the test subjects she's been asking for on the Cam-Pain map.
    • Genjuro, Fuka's dad. It's his job title. He created Desco and DES X just because his daughter wanted a little sister.
  • Make My Monster Grow: A new mechanic similar to magichange that allows any monster to grow both in size and stats. And you can magichange these overgrown monsters too!
  • Mighty Glacier:
    • The Bone Dragon, Dragon, Wood Golem, and Rifle Demon classes all possess a low movement range and low speed aptitude, but compensate for it with high HP and/or defense, and high attack. However, since both movement range and aptitudes can be boosted to an extreme degree (Either by equipment or using the Char World), it's entirely possible to turn one of them (Or any other class, for that matter) into a Lightning Bruiser.
    • Also, unless you do the aforementioned boosting, axe-wielding characters tend to be like this (except Fuka).
  • Mooks: A staple of the series, generic units are split between humanoid (Warrior, Archer, Android, etc) and monster (Dragon, Orc, etc). Monsters use a generic weapon (claws / teeth / etc) and can't throw, but can magichange. Some of the unique characters look humanoid but are technically monsters (Like Raspberyl). All the generic Mooks have alternate personalities (voice packs) that you can choose between, allowing for at least some variety when using multiple versions of the same mook — or seeing enemy mooks. There's also an unlockable shop that sells Palette Swaps of every character, allowing them to be more visually distinctive as well.
  • Moral Dissonance: The game is extremely Avilicious about wrong doings that humans do toward eachother, but anything done by demons do to themselves is treated as okay because demons are Laughably Evil. So basically humans are held up to a double standard.
  • Multiple Endings: Five different epilogues for Valvatorez and each of the five main characters, five Nonstandard Game Overs, and one alternate Normal Ending with a different final boss battle. Surprisingly, this game lacks the Ally Kill Downer Ending of the previous games. This makes sense, considering how often your characters will attack each other during a Pirate Duel.
  • My Dad Can Beat Up Your Dad: During the Netherbattle Tournament, both Laharl and Mao talk about how badass and powerful their fathers were. The only thing keeping them from completely fulfilling the trope is that their respect for their fathers is begrudging at best and when Emizel points out that they do care about their fathers, they completely deny it.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • One of the Prinny's attacks is the Ultimate Pringer Beam Ex Skill from Trinity Universe.
    • Adell's second attack has him use parts of the Disgaea 2 versions of the Tiger Charge, King of Beasts, and Rising Dragon fist skills in a combo.
    • Both Flonne's first Special Skill is a reference to the first game. See Call Back above.
    • A few of the alternate colors for the DLC characters resemble their alternate forms or other characters from their respective games. For example, one of Gig's alternate colors makes him resemble Revya's in-game sprite while one of Rozalin's alternate colors turns her into the true Zenon.
    • A few of the DLC character's evilities try to mimic the mechanics of their original games. Prier's "Extra Turn" is based on the "Re-Action" mechanic in La Pucelle Ragnarok, Marona's "Confine" is based on her ability to summon phantoms in Phantom Brave, Gig's "Best Buds" is based on the Squad leader bonuses in Soul Nomad, etc.
  • Necessarily Evil: Demons are viewed this way. Their act of inflicting fear in humans is done so that humans learn respect and preserve order. In exchange, the Fear Energy that's produced keeps the Netherworld alive. It is also beneficial toward angels as the actions of demons cause humans to look to the heavens for guidance. In exchange, it grants angels with Awe Energy which gives them power and courage.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Axel is featured heavily in the game's opening, taking center stage with the playable protagonists. While he's a recurring villain and even temporarily "joins" the party at one point, he's not actually playable until the post-game.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: The cause of Artina's death as a human. Deconstructed as well, as the recipient (The Big Bad) became an Omnicidal Maniac as a result of said punishment.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Invoked - Valvatorez hypothesizes that defeating Axel will reverse the effects of the A-Virus, because that's how that sort of thing works in games. He's wrong.
  • Now That's Using Your Teeth: Taking a page from Jimi Hendrix, Axel will appear to be playing his guitar with his teeth during his Love Dynamite S skill.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The Androids on the moon. Played for Laughs, as they're getting in your way in the best Obstructive Bureaucrat form while you're trying to prevent the moon from being destroyed!
  • Off Model: Particularly this scene in the opening.
  • Oh, Crap: Fuka and Desco in the Time Leap sceanrio upon realizing that they mistook Tyrant Valvatorez for present-day Val and now he's pissed and they even utter the trope name word for word when they see Sister Artina near Tyrant Val. In general, anyone will have this reaction towards Tyrant Val with the sole exception of Sister Artina.
  • Old Save Bonus: Nippon Ichi has stated that one's old Disgaea 3 saved game will unlock an Evil Symbol that allows party members to enter the senate to vote on bills. Said Evil Symbol can also be unlocked through normal gameplay at some point, so those who don't have Disgaea 3 aren't missing out.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Nemo.
  • On the Next: As with the previous games, these have little to do with the upcoming chapter. All of these narrated by Valvatorez.
  • One-Winged Angel:
    • Valvatorez, Fenrich, Emizel, and Desco all undergo a transformation into a huge monster to perform their ultimate skills. Vulcanus looks like she's doing this too, but it's actually Summon Magic.
    • Nemo is forced to become one.
  • Only Sane Man: Fenrich or Emizel. But by the Fuka and Desco Show, it's down to Emizel. Yes, Fenrich joins in the fun by wooing Fuka.
  • Orgasmically Delicious: Valvatorez might like sardines a bit too much.
  • Outside-Context Villain: The aliens. They came completely out of nowhere and leave as soon as the episode ends.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: How Ash feels about himself compared to all the other characters Nippon Ichi characters, thus why he entered the Netherbattle Tournament.
  • Palette Swap: The true Final Weapon looks just like Desco. Lampshaded by Emizel and Fenrich: "The only thing different is the color!" "Was this a cost-cutting tactic by the creator?"
  • Panty Shot: In the Time Leap scenario, Sister Artina becomes embarrassed when Fuka carries her as it exposes her undergarments. However, Fuka is more concerned about getting away from Tyrant Val, leading to Artina hoping that God forgives her for her indecency. Luckily for her, there is no sprite exposing them.
  • The Pollyanna: Deconstructed with Artina, showing the fate of such sunny individuals should they live in a crap hole malicious world.
  • Player Mooks: A staple of all Nippon Ichi Strategy RPGs.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: The Deadly Pierce gun skill combines this with Improbable Aiming Skills to hit a maximum of five targets in a single go. Amusingly (But not that surprisingly, considering the series), it's one of weaker gun skills.
  • Promoted Fangirl: Eri Kitamura, who actually begged Nippon Ichi to give her a role, any role, "even an old guy !" before they gave her the role of Vulcanus.
  • Punished for Sympathy: The entire plot of Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten is more or less driven by the fact that the Big Bad Nemo was once a human who was injured in a war and helped by an enemy nurse called Artina, who was executed as a traitor for it (and ended up convincing Valvatorez to give up blood, allowing Nemo to take over his position). Thus leading to his Start of Darkness (and her becoming the angel Vulcanus).
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: We have a sardine-loving vampire who is very serious about keeping promises, his serious and cunning werewolf servant, a middle schooler who just can't accept the fact that she's dead, a cute Final Boss-in-training, a former coward who wishes to grow stronger, and a money-grubbing angel (And that's not even including the secret characters). Even Hugo lampshades it before the fight with him.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Valvatorez and Fenrich respectively. This is despite their opposing color schemes and the general stereotypes of their species in fiction.
  • Robot Girl: The Android (which should be Gynoid...) class, which seems to take inspiration from Bubblegum Crisis. The male version — "Battle Suits" — is decidedly less sleek and fanservicey.
  • Rube Goldberg Device: One of the Prinnies' magichange attacks is to set off one of these that throws a giant bomb at the enemy.
  • Running Gag:
    • Whenever Axel appears, he usually calls out Valvatorez off screen. The screen would then pan over to Axel to which Valvatorez responds "Warden Axel!" The gag is later subverted when the screen pans over to a random Gunner with the same voice, an A-Virus victim.
    • Fuka's constant denial that she is dead.
    • Also, the fact that there are four consecutive episodes labeled "Final Episode" before the main story actually ends.
    • Each On the Next segment quickly devolves into Valvatorez sharing "interesting" facts about sardines with the player.
    • SARDINES! Did you know Val loves sardines?
  • Say My Name: Val's reaction to Axel's "death(s)".
    Valvatorez: Axxxelll!!!
  • Sequel Hook: Given that it's Disgaea, it might not amount to anything, but even in the post-game the main characters are still worried about God going after them. There's also all those aliens...
    • A new scene, in which Valvatorez directly calls out God adds to the above.
  • Ship Sinking: Despite an exchange implying that there will be some sort of relationship between Valvatorez and Fuka, nothing comes out of it and Fuka ends up supporting Val X Artina. On top of that, while she does consider it, she decides not to pursue Valvatorez in her own epilogue since she knows she'll have to deal with Fenrich and Artina.
  • Shipper on Deck: Fuka ships Val x Artina seriously, and Val x Fenrich mostly because she's a delusional teenager.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Stable Time Loop/Timey-Wimey Ball: The Time Loop story. Desco finds a stopwatch that brings her and Fuka to the past. At the end of the story, the watch brings them (and Nagi) back to the future while the watch remains in the past to found by Desco. Morever, it turns out Fuka introduced Valvatorez to sardines...but in the future, he remembers Nagi giving him his first sardines. Nagi suggests that the past was changed to fit the future.
  • Stone Wall:
    • The Bouncer class — so dedicated to defense that they gain experience for taking damage.
    • The Heavy Knight class also qualifies, having even higher defenses than the Bouncer, but at the expense of speed and movement range.
    • The Gargoyle has a high defense to begin with, but by not moving, it gets bigger.
  • Super Move Portrait Attack: Par for the course in the series but one particular case stands out. The DLC Prism Rangers Ultimate attack shoves 13 portraits on the screen at once!
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: In the Netherbattle Tournament DLC, Fenrich runs into an image of Tyrant Valvatorez created by his intense desires. The following conversation occurs.
    Fenrich: What!? You're nothing but a figment of my imagination? If that's true, as long as I wish for it, this Lord Val may even...
    Tyrant Valvatorez: Correct! I will win this tournament and rule the Netherworld, if that is your wish!
    Fenrich: [Beat, followed by Sweatdrop] Y-Yes, my Lord! It is!
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Sometimes the main characters go off on a tangent while the enemy demons patiently wait for them to stop talking so they can attack. It's as if the cutscenes were just as turn-based as the gameplay. Occasionally this is lampshaded.
  • Take That: Possibly at the length of Disgaea 3's main game, as the seventh episode is called the final episode in the title card and Disgaea 3 was only eight episodes long. Disgaea 4 is actually ten episodes long.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • When Axel tries to unleash Desco, he reassures Emizel, telling him everything will be fine. A few minutes later, he's fried by Desco's Eye Beams.
    • "Just pray for me, so I won't die before you get the chance to scare me." Val should have prayed...
  • Terror Hero: Adell has become so fearsome that he ran every demon out of Veldime, except presumably Yukimaru and Fubuki.
  • That's No Moon!: The Tera Star spell forces the target to realize that the planet Saturn isn't exactly the planet Saturn...
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: While playing the Fuka & Desco show, the characters in Cam-Pain HQ will say different things to the player, now controlling Fuka.
  • Title Sequence: Right here.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Induced by Fuka, the tomboy, who doesn't want a tomboy as a little sister, so she tells Desco to be the Girly Girl. Desco, of course, complies.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Deconstructed with Artina. See No Good Deed Goes Unpunished, Kill the Cutie, and Pollyanna above (her death is what causes everything to figuratively go to hell).
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Valvatorez's sardines.
  • Triang Relations: According to Fuka, it's either a type 7 (Artina<->Valvatorez<->Fenrich) or a type 4 (Artina<->Valvatorez<-Fenrich).
  • True Companions: Valvatorez: Do you see now, God!? This is the power of demons, angels, and humans! A power that's much stronger than yours the ties of our camaraderie!
  • True Final Boss: This is how Des X is described, although in the game she's only the final boss of Chapter 8 and the Fuka and Desco DLC Scenario. But there actually is a real True Final Boss: Four avatars of God. They appear as giant Eringas.
  • Unexpected Character: Most of the characters that have made it into the game as DLC have been highly demanded via polls, are main characters of previous NIS games, or are used as a "gateway" for the downloadable classes. Then there's King Krichevskoy who was never playable in his own game or any game afterwards. Yes, Mid Boss is King Krichevskoy who has been playable before, but this is first time players get to use the magnificent demon Overlord who sealed away Baal.
  • Unwilling Roboticisation: If you create an Android, a random valkyrie will be captured and forcefully transformed into an Android.
  • Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight: A non-mechanical example happens with the biological weapons Desco and Des-X. Although the latter is supposed to be more advanced of the two, they actually have near identical stats and skills. The former actually gains her ultimate skill while the latter doesn't, making up for it by having extra range on the two skills she shares with the former.
  • Vampire-Werewolf Love Triangle: Averted since there is no Fur Against Fang. Also, it is Valvatorez, the vampire, who is at the center of the Love Triangle which is between Fenrich, the werewolf, and Vulcanus, the angel.
  • The Virus: Chapter 6's "A-Virus". It transforms the infected into Axel.
  • Verbal Tic:
    • In the Japanese script, Desco loves to use the word "desu" at the end of her sentences, to the point of it being abnormal. Made more amusing by the fact that it's written in a way that can be romanized as "death". In Japanese, it even puns off the way her name is spelled in katakana - "Desuko" - which could be read as "desu girl"... or "death girl".
    • There's quite a few of them amongst the various monster classes, like the Nekomata's "nya", the Orc's "buhi", and the Wood Golem's "gogo", though in some cases, the tic is exclusive to a certain personality for the class. As with the former, most of them are only present in the Japanese dub.
    • Don't forget the Prinnies, dood!
    • The Cat Sabers and the Deathsabers spice their dialogue with cat noises. Even the big boss of the mint uses them.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Death King Hugo, though in his case, both options suck and he knows it. More emphasis on well intentioned, not to mention not very good at using Take a Third Option.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: The aptly named Flashback Episode, which focuses on Fenrich and how he first met Valvatorez.
  • Withholding the Cure: A non-villainous example: Vulcanus kept the cure for the A-Virus (Angels' blood) secret until it became apparent that there was really no other option but to use it, because angels are strictly forbidden from wounding themselves.
  • The Worf Effect: Although Emizel says that they're all powerful, every major demon that shows up in episode 7 suffers from this including the President himself. Somewhat justified as most of the demons have become much weaker due to the lack of Fear Energy. Some of said demons return in the postlude, much stronger than before. Lampshaded by Fuka, who points out that all these supposedly super-powerful foes Emizel keeps dressing up don't actually seem all that powerful.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: As he and his party are infected by the A-Virus, Valvatorez remains confident that in situations like these, a Boss character is usually behind it, and kicking his ass would solve the problem. However, after they find the real Axel and defeat him, nothing happens, and the epidemic continues. Fortunately, Vulcanus is there to save the day with her blood.
  • Written by the Winners: According to the narration toward the end, all records of Axel's presidency were erased when Emizel took office.
    • The Information Bureau Chief subverts this. Having just lost, she denies the fight and the outcome happened, to convince the Netherworld that the rebellion isn't working. Val changes her mind.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Asagi is the only character who hasn't received a sprite upgrade. If that wasn't enough, they even downgrade her character portrait to a sprite.
    • Throw the Dog a Bone: But she receives one in DLC. Though, unlike Flonne, you can only have one at a time. You have to pass a bill to switch.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: As it turns out, Androids store Valvatorez/Fenrich fanfics in their memory banks.
  • You Are Already Dead: The Nekomata's attack Boxer Kitty is a dead ringer for the Hokuto Hyakuretsu Ken. During the creation of a Nekomata, she calls it by the more traditional parody name, and even says: "You are already dead."
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Despite the best efforts of Fuka, Desco, and Nagi in the Time Loop episodes, they are unable to prevent Artina from being killed.
  • You Make Me Sic: At least two. Raspberyl's Magichange weapon switched from a sword to a staff, but the Imperial Cross skill favor text still calls it a sword skill. Also, Laharl's map is called: 'From Anether World!' That last one might be a pun, though.
  • Zombie Infectee:
    • Done hilariously. The A-Virus works over a period of time, leading to much angst over inevitable doom. Said virus turns them into a clone of Axel. The symptoms include blonde hair, Hot Blood, and slight (or increased) stupidity.
    • Creating a zombie leads to a world-wide version of this.
    • The Necromancer class can turn people into zombies by either killing them, or using her special skill. (Which only looks if she can One-Hit Kill the enemy.) She does this to her herself when she dies. She only has 1 HP, but keeps the level and SP, so she can still fight. As a enemy though...

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